With one swing of the bat, it looked as though Ryan Braun had derailed the St. Louis Cardinals’ train headed for the postseason. Junior Fernandez and Yadier Molina both knew the grand slam was in play as soon as Braun moved his hips and connected.
For some, September 16th was the day that the world felt as if the sky was in fact falling — no crumbling down for the birds. There was absolutely no way the St. Louis team could recover from dropping two out of three against Milwaukee before heading into battle with the likes of the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs.
“No way. Season over. Go home everybody!”
They defeated Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer. They swept the Cubs and held on to first place with their fingertips. With a few hiccups along the way while playing in the desert and back at Busch, they remained unscathed with the help from STL ace Jack Flaherty and the Colorado Rockies keeping the Brewers at bay. And on the final game of the regular season, they clinched the NL Central.
And now, after taking Game 5 of the NLDS in a historic 10-run first inning, the Cardinals find themselves one series away from the World Series. Yes, the World Series.
The Cardinals will host the Washington Nationals tonight at Busch Stadium for game one of the NLCS. And yes, you read that correctly.
For the first time since 2014, the Cardinals will play in the NLCS and for the first time since becoming the Washington Nationals, they will play in the NLCS. The most improbable two teams in the National League are the last two standing and looking for the ring.
Game 1 Starters:
Miles Mikolas will take the mound for the birds while Aníbal Sánchez goes for the Nats.
- Miles Mikolas — 1-0, 1.50 ERA, 6.0 IP, 2 SO, 0.83 WHIP.
- Aníbal Sánchez — 0-0, 1.80 ERA, 5.0 IP, 9 SO, 1.20 WHIP.
Anything thing to note?
As suspected, the roster remains the same for the Cardinals. John Gant remains on the bench with his gold chain and sunglasses, cheering his fellow teammates on while Michael Wacha continues to throw bullpen sessions. Shildt said that the Cardinals do not want to risk Wacha’s health by pushing him too soon. (Which in all honestly, is the smarter and safer bet for all parties.)
The Nationals roster looks to be the same with the health of Kurt Suzuki pending. Suzuki was seen to be doing OK during the Nationals’ celebration on Wednesday night. Victor Robles missed the final three games of the NLDS with a right hamstring injury — but could return as early as Game 1. Daniel Hudson will miss Game 1 due to paternity leave.
Starters in the Series:
Probable rotation for Cardinals: Mikolas (postseason ERA: 1.50), Wainwright (postseason ERA: 0.00), Flaherty (postseason ERA: 2.77), and Hudson (postseason ERA: 1.93)
Probable rotation for Nationals: Sánchez (postseason ERA: 1.80), Scherzer (postseason ERA: 2.77), Strasburg (postseason ERA: 2.40) and Corbin (postseason ERA: 7.88)
You will be able to watch the NCLS on TBS. Game 1 will start at 7:08 CST on Friday October 11, 2019.
Personal opinion: Cardinals in 5.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)